As a new cat owner, I was feeling proud of myself. I bought the best organic cat food, the fanciest litter box, and enough toys to fill a small preschool. But when I took Shadow for her first vet visit, the doctor ruined my vibe.
“Her teeth need some serious attention,” he said, as Shadow pretended not to notice him poking around in her mouth. Apparently cats can’t take care of their pearly whites on their own. Who knew?
The vet recommended daily tooth brushing with a special pet toothpaste. “No human toothpaste!” he warned. “It could make your cat seriously ill.” Yikes. So I rushed to the pet store to load up on supplies.
But when I saw the tiny price tag on those cat toothbrushes, I hesitated. Those little brushes couldn’t cost more than a quarter to produce. Was someone running a fancy feline dental scam here?
As a thrifty (okay, cheap) so-and-so, I wondered: can I just use my own toothbrush instead? Will a human toothbrush work to clean my cat’s teeth? Or will she bite my hand off if I try it?
Well, curiosity got the better of me. I decided tochannel my inner scientist and find out what happens when you use a human toothbrush on a cat’s teeth. Read on for my purrfect step-by-step experiment.
My Quest to Use a Human Toothbrush on My Cat
Here’s how it all went down in my bathroom-turned-feline-dental-office:
Step 1: Assembling the right tools
Based on the vet’s warnings, I knew regular mint Crest wasn’t going to cut it. I picked up some poultry-flavored CET cat toothpaste to entice Shadow.
Next, I grabbed one of my old soft-bristled Oral B toothbrushes. The small round head seemed like it could fit comfortably in Shadow’s tiny mouth. I also had a finger toothbrush ready as a backup.
Step 2: Getting my assistant into the chair
Shadow seemed relaxed sprawling on the bath mat. But the second I approached with the toothbrush, she shot me a look that said, “You’ve got to be kitten me.” Maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
To get her used to the idea, I let her lick a bit of the yummy poultry toothpaste off my finger. I gently rubbed my finger along her teeth and gums too. She wasn’t running away in terror, so I decided it was toothbrush time.
Step 3: Brushing those pearly whites
I slipped the toothbrush onto my finger and let Shadow lick the toothpaste off the bristles. So far, so good.
Time to get down to business. I slowly lifted her lips to expose her teeth and began gently brushing her fangs in small circles, just like I would brush my own teeth.
Shadow closed her eyes, apparently deciding to tolerate this strange human ritual. I took my time, carefully brushing the outer surfaces of her teeth on one side, then the other.
I won’t lie; it felt pretty awkward standing there brushing a cat’s teeth. But I kept it up for a full two minutes, until I was confident I had scrubbed plaque off all her major teeth.
Step 4: Wrapping up with treats and praise
After thoroughly brushing those tiny kitten chompers, I rinsed Shadow’s mouth and showered her with cuddles. She purred happily when I pulled out a bag of Temptations treats too.
Maybe she secretly enjoyed having her teeth cleaned? Or maybe she just really likes poultry flavor and getting praised. Either way, it seemed our first tooth-brushing experiment was a success!
Takeaways from My Experience Brushing with a Human Toothbrush
Here are the main tips I learned from testing out a human toothbrush on my cat’s teeth:
- Use super soft bristles. You need something gentle enough not to damage her gums.
- Go for a small brush head that can fit in her mouth. Child or baby sizes work well.
- Always use cat toothpaste. Human varieties can contain ingredients that are toxic for cats if swallowed. double check with your vet.
- Take it slow and give your cat time to get used to the feeling. Patience prevents pain!
- Make it a positive experience. Let them lick tasty toothpaste off your finger first. Give praise and treats.
- Use a gentle touch. Light, circular bristle motions are safest for their delicate teeth.
- Focus on the outer surfaces first. Introduce inner tooth surfaces once your cat relaxes into it.
- Build up brushing time gradually. A few seconds is fine at first; work up to 2 minutes.
- Consider alternatives too. Finger brushes slip easily over your finger for better control.
With the right approach, a human toothbrush can be used to effectively remove plaque from your cat’s teeth and prevent dental disease. Just be gentle, use cat toothpaste, and take it slow. And voila! Clean kitty teeth without spending a fortune.
More Tips to Improve Your Cat’s Dental Health
Brushing is just one part of keeping your cat’s mouth healthy. Here are some other tips to try:
- Get regular vet dental checkups to monitor for problems early.
- Choose dental treats and crunchy kibble to help scrape away plaque.
- Try dental gels or oral rinses made for cats between brushing.
- Give raw bones to gnaw weekly – cats love chicken necks!
- Have your vet do a professional cleaning if needed for excess tartar.
- Watch for signs of dental issues like bad breath or difficulty chewing.
Okay, maybe I won’t throw away Shadow’s fancy cat toothbrush just yet. But for feline dental care on a budget, a human toothbrush can do the job quite nicely! Just be sure to get your cat’s cooperation first with lots of praise and positivity, not force.
Now excuse me while I go reward my new dental assistant with a well-deserved catnip break! Let me know if you have success using a human toothbrush for your own cat’s teeth.